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As the country reflects on allegations of sexual assault against a young, drunk Brett Kavanaugh, I cannot help but think about my own college days at Dartmouth in the late 1990s. I did not sexually assault anyone, but I can see how it could happen and wish I knew then what I know now.
This weekend, I returned home for 36 hours. I slept in a bed that was not a twin XL, I drove around my home town, I ate authentic Chinese food — in short, I enjoyed the comforts of home. At the same time, it didn’t really feel like “home” anymore. My childhood bedroom was given to me for a night, but it had been occupied by my sister for about two weeks, due to the presence of relatives staying over. My sister’s belongings decorated the crevices of the room I had always thought of mine. This time, I felt like a guest. My customary mug languished in a cabinet; I fumbled a bit with the new coffeemaker. I could still navigate my home town with ease, but I felt out of place at my regular nail salon. The suburban moms who usually frequent the salon gossiped about places and people whom I no longer recognized or knew much about. Thankfully, the Chinese food still tasted delicious.
This summer at a family barbecue, conversation turned –– as it so often does –– political. At some point in the conversation, my dad divulged that he identifies as an independent voter, to which his friends responded with shock and horror: “But don’t you care about politics?”
While it hasn’t been “business as usual” in American politics, the events of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh this past week are even farther from the norm. Regardless of what one holds at stake here — another conservative on the bench or the very efficacy of American justice (motives at this point abound) — these judicial proceedings have drudged up levels of emotion that transcend personal perspective, motive or party delineation. In the sense that Thursday’s hearing it put unbridled, human feeling on display, America may finally have found itself presented with, at least in its essence, the apolitical.
Like many high school students, I too hated taking the ACT. Even after I was accepted into Dartmouth, I felt bummed out that my score was not in the top quartile like the scores of some of my other classmates. I assumed that this indicated I had an inherent disadvantage, destined to have a dismal college transcript follow me around after graduation. Yet two years later, I can say that this will probably not be the case. I barely think about those scores now, nor do I think that they were very telling. Indeed, some of the other college students I have talked to about this issue are in agreement that these tests are inaccurate at predicting college success.
As a brother of Bones Gate fraternity, I don’t make a habit of talking to the press, but we all make exceptions sometimes. And the rush process is one such exception. It plays a crucial role in determining which individuals on this campus will be endowed with the abilities and resources to facilitate major social spaces at Dartmouth. Granted, across campus there is a mixture of rushees who have had varying opportunities to acquaint themselves with the full body of the house they are joining. But regardless of whether they enter a house after terms of building credentials and connections or if they come with none at all, rushing a house gives every member the privileges of affiliation — and it is the scope of those privileges that I would like to address.
On the first day of senior year, the one-armed bro hugs and exclamations of “Oh my god, I haven’t seen you in forever!” punctuated the still Hanover summer. On the second day of senior year, a flood of blazers, suits and skirts marched in and out of the Top of the Hop, home of the annual career fair.
Thanks to all of those freshman year icebreakers, I can drop a few fun facts about myself at a moment’s notice: I never really learned to tell my lefts from my rights, I’m allergic to apples and bananas, and I lived with my grandparents in China for three years. One year after I was born, I flew from Boston to Shanghai, where I stayed under the care of countless relatives spread across the biggest and brightest city I’ve ever seen. Almost all of my extended family lives in China, and I love every memory I’ve made there. I have been loud and proud of my heritage for a few years, but it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, sometimes it still feels like I’m trying too hard to disassociate myself from the community that raised me.
I own a cap that was passed down to me by a sorority sister. Neatly sharpied on the inside of the brim, it says, “When you love an institution, you should consistently question its value for the sake of its own validity.” I was probably not allowed to keep this hat, but it somehow made its way with me to Washington D.C., a city that I moved to less than six months ago. With the the controversy surrounding Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh happening right where I call home now, and for many other reasons, I have not been able to get much sleep — nor this quote out of my head.
Iran is “sowing death, chaos and destruction” around the world. That much President Trump made abundantly clear in his recent speech to the United Nations. At the General Assembly, the president doubled down on the Iranian threat, urging the international community to support sanctions against the regime.
“Yo, dude, check out this pic of what happened last night. I was so wasted, haha! I can’t even remember it.”
For the linguist J. L. Austin, an utterance can be constative and/or performative. That is, it can simply make a descriptive statement or it can actually perform the articulated action. Austin would judge the performative speech act by its degree of “felicity”: an utterance should be considered “happy” if the action actually takes place and “infelicitous” if not. At Dartmouth, it is hard to make felicitous utterances –– i.e. to make something happen just by saying it. For example, many would say “let’s have a meal soon” to others, without ever having one. Similarly, when one says “I will study with my friends on FFB,” one will not necessarily study while sitting there. But on this campus, when one announces to the world that “I’m going to get wasted hard tonight,” one will almost certainly manage to look wasted hard that evening. This felicitous speech act, once uttered, guarantees students a rare kind of happiness.
I was home for a month this summer after a long eight months, so of course I had my calendar full of dentist and optometry appointments, lunch dates with old and new friends and outings with extended family members. As the weeks went by, my parents reminded me that my grandparents on each side wanted to share a meal with me before I left for school again. I, of my own moxie, half-facetiously questioned why that would be necessary, as I had seen them fairly recently during a family gathering. Plus, I added, I wouldn’t be able to have any meaningful conservation with them due to the language barrier between us. Nevertheless, two lunches were scheduled, one for each set of grandparents.
Like many seniors, I find myself facing the ever-present danger of succumbing to the anxiety of my uncertain future. So, like the enterprising Dartmouth student I am, I decided last week to attend Dartmouth’s Employer Connections Fair, promoted by the Center for Professional Development for its “relaxed setting” and representation of “many industry sectors.”
Bickering between China and Hong Kong has surfaced, once again, in international news coverage. But this time, something as seemingly-innocuous as a new train link has triggered outcry from concerned Hong Kongers. However, they are justifiably angry; the train link is merely the latest attempt by China to erode the civil liberties guaranteed to Hong Kong after the British departure in 1997, and to ensure that the Special Administrative Region is chained to the mainland. It is becoming increasingly apparent that China has an overarching plan to erode the features of the “one country, two systems” model, and to unite the region with the rest of China.
This month, a study group created by the College will recommend a course of action regarding the Hovey murals. The murals, originally painted in the 1930s by Walter Beach Humphrey, a member of the Class of 1914, illustrate a drinking song written by another Dartmouth student, Richard Hovey. The murals used to decorate the walls of a faculty room in Thayer dining hall (now the basement of The Class of 1953 Commons), but are now locked out of view. Depending on the study group’s conclusions, the murals may remain where they are, be destroyed or be relocated. I hope that they will be relocated.
Together, the pages I follow on Instagram feed have two sides: emotional excess and visual excess. Everyone follows different content, whether it be food blogs, fitness pages or nature pictures, all of which carry their own trends. Because I tend to follow clothing labels, emotional meme pages, photographers and magazines, my media intake is a narrative that seems to summarize the contrasts between inner and outer feeling. The narrative of sexual liberation in popular personal pages and magazines compared to the shame that seems to pervade more emotional accounts suggests that, in general, the sexually explicit is more socially acceptable than what I might call the emotionally explicit.
The anonymous “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” op-ed published in the New York Times is not powerful solely for its content. Half of its power can be attributed to its author’s anonymity. Before I argue on anonymity’s behalf, however, it is critical to acknowledge that the author is anonymous only to a certain degree. The New York Times wrote that the author is a senior official in the Trump administration, and I, for one, am inclined to believe them. Not only does the New York Times rarely ever publish op-eds with anonymous authors, but as CNN’s Chris Cuomo puts it, would the NYT really “risk their reputation on a kill shot like this if it was proven to be false?” Such a deed, according to Cuomo, would be considered a heavy “miscarriage of journalism.”
Life isn’t fair; get used to it. My father’s favorite tidbit of “parental wisdom,” this brutal truth applies quite well to the realm of collegiate admissions. In fact, this sentiment colors how people gaze upon all of academia. It guides them to bemoan privilege, to champion the underdog, to seek true meritocracy. And yet here we stand, looming over an academic precipice which stands to plummet higher education downward and subvert the progress that has been made toward climbing Mt. Meritocracy. This generation stands privy to the death of standardized testing — the death of the great legitimizer.
You’re walking to class and you see a penny on the sidewalk. Do you take a moment to pick it up or do you walk past it? According to an analysis by the New Yorker, if you spent more than 6.15 seconds to pick the penny up, you could have better used your time.